Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Constitution and the West Philippine Sea |

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The Constitution and the West Philippine Sea
12:08 AM October 26, 2016

Prior to Philippines v. China, we had claims under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) about our maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea. So did China. The arbitration resulted in an overwhelming validation of the Philippines’ arguments, and an emphatic rejection of China’s. The four corners of every page of Philippines v. China determines with finality our specific rights in the West Philippine Sea.

In gist, the decision declared unlawful China’s nine-dash line. It recognized the full breadth of our exclusive economic zone, and our rights over Ayungin Shoal, Mischief Reef, and Reed Bank. The tribunal further recognized traditional fishing rights within the territorial sea of Scarborough Shoal.

The character of the Philippines’ and China’s claims is now different. We don’t have mere claims; we now have rights. Our rights trump China’s claims. We won, it lost.

Strategically, what President Benigno Aquino III has done is replace the platform for asserting our rights from one based on politics to another based on law. We did not just win chips that may be bargained away. We have replaced the table where the game is played. We got permanent leverage.

Philippines v. China must be read in relation to Art. XII, Sec. 2 of our Constitution: “The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.” The decision is the legal baseline for our foreign policy in the West Philippine Sea. This is a nonnegotiable, prepolitical constitutional mandate for every administration.

Let me focus on specific areas of concern.

Historic rights. The purported basis of China’s nine-dash line was the existence of historic rights that predated the Unclos. For various reasons, the tribunal rejected their existence and validity. Every administration has the obligation to not give any more credence to these imaginary rights. It would be sadly ironic if the country that debunked these imaginary rights end up validating them while everyone else in the world use our victory as basis for rejecting China’s claims.

Traditional fishing rights. The tribunal characterized Scarborough Shoal as rocks entitled to a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles within which Filipinos and other nationalities enjoy traditional fishing rights. China is now under legal obligation to recognize these rights.

We should be wary of the temptation to agree to any permission system for traditional fishing at Scarborough Shoal not only because such a system is a diminution of our rights but also because, more important, such system could implicitly and dangerously carry a recognition of China’s territorial rights over Scarborough Shoal. The incremental move forward is a rights management agreement which may cover the peaceful and responsible exercise of fishing rights, while setting aside territorial disputes over the rocks.

Joint development. The characterization of Reed Bank as a submerged reef within our exclusive economic zone negates the possibility of joint development with China. Our victory at The Hague makes joint development a constitutionally untenable bargaining stance. But the larger problem is that entering into such an agreement implicitly revives China’s expansive claims. This is because joint development assumes China has rights that extend to our waters.

The President is the chief architect of foreign policy. He has wide leeway, constrained by the Constitution. A wide variance between the mandate of the Constitution and his preferred foreign policy will impact the national interest, affect his legacy, and trigger the accountability provisions of our Constitution.

One must therefore be careful about gambling on any sudden pivot. Instead of an easy layup, we might end up with broken ankles and lost territories.

Florin T. Hilbay is a former solicitor general. He was agent to the Republic in Philippines v. China.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SC suspends lawyer for defying Court rulings | Sun.Star

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THE Supreme Court (SC) has suspended a lawyer for five years for repeatedly ignoring several resolutions of the Court in connection with the administrative case filed against him.

In a recent ruling released by the SC, it ordered the suspension of Atty. Alexander Del Prado for the lawyer's continuous failure to comply with the orders of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the high court.

The SC said that Del Prado's repeated failure to attend court hearings and his failure to comply with the Court’s Resolutions requiring him to comment on the case constitute utter disrespect of the judicial institution.

The case against Atty. Del Prado stemmed from a complaint filed against him by a certain Myrna Deveza for his failure to pay his debt for the lot in Caloocan City which he bought to former amounting to P565,950.

The SC upheld the recommendation of the IBP to suspend the lawyer for five years. It also warned the lawyer that repeated acts can constitute to a higher penalty of the Court. (Sunnex)

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Foreigners can inherit private lands in the Philippines

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In the event the decedent has no legal residence in the Philippines, the Estate Tax Return must be filed with the nearest Philippine Embassy. Also, it must be stressed that the said return must be signed by a certified public accountant, duly accredited by the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue. In this connection, nonpayment of the estate tax will put to a halt any registration of the document of transfer with the proper Registry of Deeds and, accordingly, no new title in the heirs’ names will ensue. So the correct tax must be paid first, and paid on time to prevent any penalties and interest.

Estate tax is not a tax on property but one imposed on the privilege of transmitting property upon the death of the owner.

Once the tax has been paid, the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue will issue a Certificate Authorizing Registration which should be submitted to the proper Registry of Deeds. Next, upon payment of the registration of fees and surrender of the title still in the decedent's name, a new title will be issued to each heir in accordance with their partition of the estate. However, every land title will carry an inscription that pertains to the possible liability of heirs toward other heirs who were unlawfully deprived of participation in the adjudication of the estate. This entry in the land title is known as “Liabilities of Heirs” pursuant to Section 4, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines which will remain recorded in the land title for two years, the purpose of which is to notify prospective buyers about such fact.

For questions or inquiries, you Contact Jeremy O. Panganiban via email You can also reach him through Viber by dialing cellular phone no. +63917-8749678.

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Foreigners can inherit private lands in the Philippines

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The 1987 Philippine Constitution allows the acquiring of private lands by foreigners through inheritance or succession, which is an exception rather than the general rule. For this reason the Philippine Supreme Court, in construing the primary law, restricted it to a situation where the deceased left no last will and testament. This is to avoid an indirect circumvention of the prohibition on acquisition of private lands by foreigners.

How is this possible? The deceased person may have priorly acquired private lands in the Philippines while he or she was still a Filipino citizen, and then married a foreigner. The other instance is when children are born after the deceased got naturalized and he or she did not apply for re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship.

Then we turn to the next question on how the foreigner can get his or her inheritance. First of all, the foreigner must have capacity to succeed (inherit) in accordance with the national law of the decedent. After this is complied with, if there is only one heir, the said heir needs to execute an Affidavit of Adjudication by Sole Heir. In contrast, when there are more than one heir and they agree among themselves to partition the estate of the deceased, they are required under Philippine law to execute an Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Partition. In either case, it's required that the decedent have no debts or, if he or she left debts, that they be fully paid.

After which, either document (Affidavit of Adjudication or Extrajudicial Settlement) needs to be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province or city where the deceased last resided. Simultaneous with this requirement is that the foreigner must submit a Notice of Death within two months from the fact of death, and pay within six months from the required tax by filing an Estate Tax Return, together with supporting documents, with the Regional District Office of the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue.

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Different condos foreigners can buy in Philippines

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Foreign/alien acquisition of condominium units in the Philippines is legally allowed only if it does not exceed 40 percent ownership of the condominium project. Moreover, to allow foreigners to do so, a condominium corporation is mandatory because title over the land where the project is built will be held by it. Under Philippine law, foreigners are not allowed to acquire private lands except in cases of intestate succession (without a last will and testament) or in cases of transfers in favor of a former Filipino citizen.

There are a lot of condominium projects within Metro Manila and other cities. Foreigners can invest in this type of real estate since some of the projects are located in prime business centers like Bonifacio Global City, Makati Business District and the Ortigas Center, which are all located in Metro Manila.

A new form of condominium project is flourishing at the University Belt, a stretch of land where several schools can be found, such as: Far Eastern University, University of the East, San Beda College and Centro Escolar University. The type of project at the University Belt is what is known as “condominium dormitory,” wherein a unit’s use is maximized by having many beds. Foreigners can easily profit from this by renting out the unit to several employees and students alike. In fact, there are condominium projects which are near to, or are integrated with, malls such as SM Supermalls, Robinsons and Ayala Land.

There are also condominium projects which are situated in tourist destinations like Baguio City, Benguet and Tagaytay City in Cavite. In these places, the projects are primarily “condotel” or condominiums which are operated like a hotel where the unit you buy can be rented out to transients, visitors, and tourists for a short period of time under a hotel-like management and service.

You might also be wondering if condominiums refer only to high rise or mid-rise buildings otherwise known as vertical condominium projects. This is understandable because we have been accustomed to this type of project, especially in highly populated places; but, the current trend now is that horizontal condominium projects are being developed, which are patterned after townhouses, or cottages near the beach or other vacation spots.

What distinguishes this new type of condominium project from a regular townhouse or cottage is that a Master Deed is required, which must be recorded with the Registry of Deeds in order for it to be legally converted into a condominium project. One other thing is the issuance of a Condominium Certificate of Title instead of the regular land title. However, in case this type of project is opened for foreign ownership, a condominium corporation must be established. Examples of horizontal condominium projects are Kasa Luntian (Green House in English) developed by Ayala Land in Tagaytay City, Cavite and beach front condos in Vista de Loro in the province of Batangas in Luzon.

Jeremy O. Panganiban is a licensed real estate broker and lawyer in Quezon City, Philippines. Contact him at or by phone at +632917-8749678 using viber every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday between 7-8 p.m. Philippine time.

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SC acquits drug convict over warrantless arrest | Metro, News, The Philippine Star |

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MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has acquitted a man convicted by a trial court for illegal drug possession after he was apprehended at a police checkpoint without a warrant of arrest in 2007.

In an 11-page decision released yesterday, the high court’s First Division ordered the dismissal of drug charges against Gerr­jan Manago.

The SC set aside the 2013 ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA), which affirmed the conviction of Manago for possession of illegal drugs under Republic Act 9165 by the Cebu City Regional Trial Court.

“Routine inspections do not give police officers discretion to conduct warrantless searches in the absence of probable cause,” read the SC ruling penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

In 2009, Manago was found guilty by the lower court of possession of 0.3852 gram of shabu and sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

The court also ordered Manago to pay a fine of P300,000.

The case reached the CA, which affirmed Manago’s conviction, prompting him to elevate the case to the high court.

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UN experts urge the Philippines to stop unlawful killings of people suspected of drug-related offences

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UN experts urge the Philippines to stop unlawful killings of people suspected of drug-related offences

GENEVA (18 August 2016) – “Allegations of drug-trafficking offences should be judged in a court of law, not by gunmen on the streets,” today said two United Nations human rights experts, while urging the Government of the Philippines to put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings in the context of an intensified anti-crime and anti-drug campaign targeting drug dealers and users.

More than 850 people have been killed between 10 May, when Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of the Philippines vowing to crackdown on crime, and 11 August 2016. Over 650 were killed in the last six weeks alone.

“We call on the Philippines authorities to adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions,” said the new UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard.

“Claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the Government from its international legal obligations and do not shield State actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings,” Ms. Callamard stressed. “The State has a legally binding obligation to ensure the right to life and security of every person in the country, whether suspected of criminal offences or not.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, noted that “however necessary, responses to the illicit drug trade must be carried out in full compliance with national and international obligations and should respect the human rights of each person.”

“Concerning drug-dependency, this should be treated as a public health issue and justice systems that decriminalise drug consumption and possession for personal use as a means to improve health outcomes,” stressed Mr. Pūras.

During his election campaign and first days in office, Mr. Duterte repeatedly urged law enforcement agencies and the public to kill people suspected of trafficking drugs who don’t surrender, as well as people who use drugs. The President was also reported as promising impunity for such killings and bounties for those who turn in drug dealers ‘dead or alive’.

“Directives of this nature are irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law. It is effectively a license to kill,” the UN expert on summary executions warned. “Intentional lethal use of force is only allowed when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life and should not be used for common policing objectives,” she said.

The Special Rapporteurs welcomed recent reports suggesting that President Duterte is now publicly condemning vigilante justice, and called on all authorities to take a clear and public stance against it. “However,” they underscored, “it is not enough.”

“Incentives to violence such as bounties or the promise of impunity also seriously contravene the rule of law and must end,” the experts said. “All allegations of killings and extrajudicial executions must be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Perpetrators and instigators must be sanctioned without exception.”

Ms. Agnes Callamard (France) is the new Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. She has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally. Ms. Callamard is the Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University and has previously worked with Article 19 and Amnesty International. She has advised multilateral organizations and governments around the world, has led human rights investigations in more than 30 countries, and has published extensively on human rights and related fields. Learn more, log on to:

Mr. Dainius Pūras (Lithuania) is the Special Rapporteur appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to help States, and others, to promote and protect the right to the highest attainable standard of health. He is a medical doctor with notable expertise on mental health, child health, and public health policies. Mr. Pûras is a Professor and the Head of the Centre for Child psychiatry social paediatrics at Vilnius University, and teaches at the Faculty of Medicine, Institute of International relations and political science and Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University, Lithuania. Learn more, visit:

The UN Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Philippines:

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 /, Jon Izagirre (+41 22 91 79715 / or write to

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 /

For your news websites and social media: Multimedia content & key messages relating to our news releases are available on UN Human Rights social media channels, listed below. Please tag us using the proper handles:
Youtube: unohchr

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016


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WHEREAS, Mindanao has had a long and complex history of lawless violence perpetrated by private armies and local warlords, bandits and criminal syndicates, terrorist groups, and religious extremists;
WHEREAS, in recent months, there has been a spate of violent and lawless acts across many parts of Mindanao, including abductions, hostage-takings and murder of innocent civilians, bombing of power transmission facilities, highway robberies and extortions, attacks on military outposts, assassinations media people and mass jailbreaks;
WHEREAS, the valiant efforts of our police and armed forced to quell this armed lawlessness have been met with stiff resistance, resulting in several casualties on the part of government forces, the most recent of which was the death of 15 soldiers in a skirmish with the Abu Sayyaf Group in Patikul, Sulu on 30 August 2016;
WHEREAS, on the night of 2 September 2016, at least 14 people were killed and 67 others were seriously injured in a bombing incident in a night market in Davao City, perpetrated by still unidentified law less elements;
WHEREAS, the foregoing acts of violence exhibit the audacity and propensity of these armed lawless groups to defy the rule of law, sow anarchy, and sabotage the government’s economic development and peace efforts;
WHEREAS, based on government intelligence reports, there exist credible threats of further terror attacks and other similar acts of violence by lawless elements in other parts of the country, including the metropolitan areas;
WHEREAS, under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, may call out such armed forces whenever it becomes necessary to prevent or suppress lawless violence.
NOW THEREFORE, I, RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution, do herby proclaim a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence, and hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to undertake such measures as may be permitted by the Constitution and existing laws to suppress any and all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao and to prevent such lawless violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the Philippines, with due regard to the fundamental civil and political rights of our citizens.
This proclamation of a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence shall remain in force and effect until lifted or withdrawn by the President.
4 September 2016. 

(Sgd.) President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

By the President:
Executive Secretary

Monday, September 5, 2016

Executive Order No. 02, s. 2016 - Freedom of Information EO

Executive Order No. 02, s. 2016
Signed on July 23, 2016


WHEREAS, pursuant to Article 28, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest, subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law;

WHEREAS, Section 7, Article III of the Constitution guarantees the right of the people to information on matters of public concern;

WHEREAS, the incorporation of this right in the Constitution is a recognition of the fundamental role of free and open exchange of information in a democracy, meant to enhance transparency and accountability in government official acts, transactions, or decisions;

WHEREAS, the Executive Branch recognizes the urgent need to operationalize these Constitutional provisions;

WHEREAS, the President, under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution, has control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, and the duty to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed;

WHEREAS, the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (R.A. 10173), ncluding its implementing Rules and Regulations, strengthens the fundamental human right of privacy, and of communication while ensuring the free flow of information to promote innovation and growth;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and existing laws, do hereby order:

SECTION 1. Definition. For the purpose of this Executive Order, the following terms shall mean:

(a) “Information” shall mean any records, documents, papers, reports, letters, contracts, minutes and transcripts of official meetings, maps, books, photographs, data, research materials, films, sound and video recording, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data, computer stored data, any other like or similar data or materials recorded, stored or archived in whatever format, whether offline or online, which are made, received, or kept in or under the control and custody of any government office pursuant to law, executive order, and rules and regulations or in connection with the performance or transaction of official business by any government office.

(b) “Official record/records” shall refer to information produced or received by a public officer or employee, or by a government office in an official capacity or pursuant to a public function or duty.

(c) “Public record/records” shall include information required by laws, executive orders, rules, or regulations to be entered, kept and made publicly available by a government office.

SECTION 2. Coverage. This order shall cover all government offices under the Executive Branch, including but not limited to the national government and all its offices, departments, bureaus, offices, and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, and state universities and colleges. Local government units (LGUs) are encouraged to observe and be guided by this Order.

SECTION 3. Access to information. Every Filipino shall have access to information, official records, public records and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development.

SECTION 4. Exception. Access to information shall be denied when the information falls under any of the exceptions enshrined in the Constitution, existing law or jurisprudence.

The Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General are hereby directed to prepare an inventory of such exceptions and submit the same to the Office of the President within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of effectivity of this Order.

The Office of the President shall thereafter, immediately circularize the inventory of exceptions for the guidance of all government offices and instrumentalities covered by this Order and the general public.

Said inventory of exceptions shall periodically be updated to properly reflect any change in existing law and jurisprudence and the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General are directed to update the inventory of exceptions as the need to do so arises, for circularization as hereinabove stated.

SECTION 5. Availability of SALN. Subject to the provisions contained in Sections 3 and 4 of this Order, all public officials are reminded of their obligation to file and make available for scrutiny their Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations, and the spirit and letter of this Order.

SECTION 6. Application and Interpretation. There shall be a legal presumption in favor of access to information, public records and official records. No request for information shall be denied unless it clearly falls under any of the exceptions listed in the inventory or updated inventory of exceptions circularized by the Office of the President provided in the preceding section.

The determination of the applicability of any of the exceptions to the request shall be the responsibility of the Head of the Office which is in custody or control of the information, public record or official record, or the responsible central or field officer duly designated by him in writing.

In making such determination, the Head of the Office or his designated officer shall exercise reasonable diligence to ensure that no exception shall be used or availed of to deny any request for information or access to public records, or official records if the denial is intended primarily and purposely to cover up a crime, wrongdoing, graft or corruption.

SECTION 7. Protection of Privacy. While providing access to information, public records, and official records, responsible officials shall afford full protection to the right to privacy of the individual as follows:

(a) Each government office per Section 2 hereof shall ensure that personal information in its custody or under its control is disclosed or released only if it is material or relevant to the subject-matter of the request and its disclosure is permissible under this order or existing law, rules or regulations;

(b) Each government office must protect personal information in its custody or control by making reasonable security arrangements against leaks or premature disclosure of personal information which unduly exposes the individual whose personal information is requested, to vilification, harassment or any other wrongful acts.

(c) Any employee, official or director of a government office per Section 2 hereof who has access, authorized or unauthorized, to personal information in the custody of the office, must not disclose that information except when authorized under this order or pursuant to existing laws, rules or regulation.

SECTION 8. People’s Freedom to Information (FOI) Manual. For the effective implementation of this Order, every government office is directed to prepare within one hundred twenty (120) calendar days from the effectivity of this Order, its own People’s FOI Manual, which shall include among others the following provisions:

(a) The location and contact information of the head, regional, provincial, and field offices, and other established places where the public can obtain information or submit requests;

(b) The person or office responsible for receiving requests for information;

(c) The procedure for the filing and processing of the request as specified in the succeeding section 8 of this Order.

(d) The standard forms for the submission of requests and for the proper acknowledgment of requests;

(e) The process for the disposition of requests;

(f) The procedure for the administrative appeal of any denial for access to information; and

(g) The schedule of applicable fees.

SECTION 9. Procedure. The following procedure shall govern the filing and processing of request for access to information:

(a) Any person who requests access to information shall submit a written request to the government office concerned. The request shall state the name and contact information of the requesting party, provide valid proof of his identification or authorization, reasonably describe the information requested, and the reason for, or purpose of, the request for information: Provided, that no request shall be denied or refused acceptance unless the reason for the request is contrary to law, existing rules and regulations or it is one of the exceptions contained in the inventory or updated inventory of exception as hereinabove provided.

(b) The public official receiving the request shall provide reasonable assistance, free of charge, to enable, to enable all requesting parties and particularly those with special needs, to comply with the request requirements under this Section.

(c) The request shall be stamped by the government office, indicating the date and time of receipt and the name, rank, title and position of the receiving public officer or employee with the corresponding signature, and a copy thereof furnished to the requesting party. Each government office shall establish a system to trace the status of all requests for information received by it.

(d) The government office shall respond to a request fully compliant with requirements of sub-section (a) hereof as soon as practicable but not exceeding fifteen (15) working days from the receipt thereof. The response mentioned above refers to the decision of the agency or office concerned to grant or deny access to the information requested.

(e) The period to respond may be extended whenever the information requested requires extensive search of the government office’s records facilities, examination of voluminous records, the occurrence of fortuitous cases or other analogous cases. The government office shall notify the person making the request of the extension, setting forth the reasons for such extension. In no case shall the extension go beyond twenty (20) working days unless exceptional circumstances warrant a longer period.

(f) Once a decision is made to grant the request, the person making the request shall be notified of such decision and directed to pay any applicable fees.

SECTION 10. Fees. Government offices shall not charge any fee for accepting requests for access to information. They may, however, charge a reasonable fee to reimburse necessary costs, including actual costs of reproduction and copying of the information required, subject to existing rules and regulations. In no case shall the applicable fees be so onerous as to defeat the purpose of this Order.

SECTION 11. Identical or Substantially Similar Requests. The government office shall not be required to act upon an unreasonable subsequent identical or substantially similar request from the same requesting party whose request from the same requesting party whose request has already been previously granted or denied by the same government office.

SECTION 12. Notice of Denial. If the government office decides to deny the request, in whole or in part, it shall as soon as practicable, in any case within fifteen (15) working days from the receipt of the request, notify the requesting party the denial in writing. The notice shall clearly set forth the ground or grounds for denial and the circumstances on which the denial is based. Failure to notify the requesting party of the action taken on the request within the period herein stipulated shall be deemed a denial of the request for access to information.

SECTION 13. Remedies in Cases of Denial of Request for Access to Information.

(a) Denial of any request for access to information may be appealed to the person or office next higher in the authority, following the procedure mentioned in Section 7 (f) of this Order: Provided, that the written appeal must be filed by the same person making the request within fifteen (15) working days from the notice of denial or from the lapse of the relevant period to respond to the request.

(b) The appeal be decided by the person or office next higher in authority within thirty (30) working days from the filing of said written appeal. Failure of such person or office to decide within the afore-stated period shall be deemed a denial of the appeal.

(c) Upon exhaustion of administrative appeal remedies, the requesting part may file the appropriate case in the proper courts in accordance with the Rules of Court.

SECTION 14. Keeping of Records. Subject to existing laws, rules, and regulations, government offices shall create and/or maintain accurate and reasonably complete records of important information in appropriate formats, and implement a records management system that facilitates easy identification, retrieval and communication of information to the public.

SECTION 15. Administrative Liability. Failure to comply with the provisions of this Order may be a ground for administrative and disciplinary sanctions against any erring public officer or employee as provided under existing laws or regulations.

SECTION 16. Implementing Details. All government offices in the Executive Branch are directed to formulate their respective implementing details taking into consideration their mandates and the nature of information in their custody or control, within one hundred twenty (120) days from the effectivity of this Order.

SECTION 17. Separability Clause. If any section or part of this Order is held unconstitutional or invalid, the other sections or provisions not otherwise affected shall remain in full force or effect.

SECTION 18. Repealing Clause. All orders, rules and regulations, issuances or any part thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Executive Order are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly: Provided, that the provisions of Memorandum Circular No. 78 (s. 1964), as amended, shall not be deemed repealed pending further review.

SECTION 19. Effectivity. This Order shall take effect immediately upon publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

DONE, in the City of Manila, this 23rd day of July in the year of our Lord two thousand and sixteen.

President of the Philippines

By the President:

Executive Secretary